by Antje Sahm


Marike is 5;1 years old and is not yet part of the preschool group. She has caught my attention because of her very good memory and she seems underchallenged. She is not happy in the current group constellation. Her mother as well as my colleague and I have the feeling that she no longer likes coming to kindergarten and is bored more often than we know her to be.

I would now like to observe how she reacts to some more targeted mental input. This should be connected to a topic that interests her anyway and that she also enjoys as much as possible. In addition, I would like to offer Marike a cross-group activity that challenges her and enables her to make contact with children from the other groups.

Inspired by the IHVO Certificte Course, I come up with the idea of letting Marike participate in the „Würzburg Language Programme“ (hereafter WS) on a trial basis, in which only the preschool children have participated so far.

I assume that Marike wants to participate, but I doubt that the pre-school children are enthusiastic about it. As a preschooler, you don’t necessarily voluntarily grant younger children the „privileges“ you have just acquired through preschooler status. In my opinion, at least initially, WS is seen as a privilege by the children. That’s why I want to talk to the six preschoolers in our group about it first.

At the next meeting on Monday, I tell them that I would like to invite Marike to the WS as a guest child sometime. I am sure that she would be happy about it and that I have the feeling that she could manage the tasks. „What do you say?“ After a short time of consideration, the four boys give their consent. One girl says nothing and the other retorts, „But Marike isn’t a pre-school child at all.“

I say, „I know. But she turned five last month – so she’s not that young anymore. Most of you are five, too.“ A short silence, then my question: „Would that be all right for you?“ I look at all the children and each one nods in agreement or says „Yes“. – „Great! Then I’ll ask her if she’s up for it today.“ So it happens. Marike is immediately enthusiastic and asks, „Today?“ – „If you like.“ She nods and dashes into the next room.

(Note from the course leader:
You explained it well to the children, and then, from experience, it almost always goes without any problems worth mentioning).

Marike can keep up well

The WS is only done for about ten minutes a day and consists of two games – so each game lasts about five minutes. I am surprised at how well Marike solves the tasks, even though, unlike the preschool children, she is doing them for the first time and does not have their previous knowledge. After all, the WS has been running in the group for almost half a year.

When we are finished, I ask Marike if she enjoyed it. She answers in the affirmative and immediately asks if she can take part again. I suggest to her: „What do you think of that?

When we are done, I ask Marike if she enjoyed it. She answers in the affirmative and immediately asks if she can join in again. I suggest to her: „What do you think about doing a trial week for the rest of this week? Then you can see if you enjoy it. And I can see if it works or if it’s too difficult. Then we can decide together if you want to continue. Today it already worked out great.“ Marike assures me: „I always have fun! I always take part now!“

(Note from the course leader:
She clearly reacted positively to the additional input, as well as to the special challenge – and you could clearly see what she was capable of).

Marike continues to participate enthusiastically

The next morning I inform Marike’s mother about the WS trial week, which Marike had already told her about. The mother likes the idea and reports that Marike had insisted on going to kindergarten as early as possible in the morning so as not to miss the WS.

The test week goes very well. Marike appears highly motivated, asks several times when the WS starts and is usually the first to run into the next room when I call the children. She solves the tasks very well, sometimes even better than two of the pre-school children. I ask my colleague to lead the WS once this week too, and she confirms my perception.

Now I ask Marike if she wants to continue: „Yes, I said yes before and now. I always take part now! I can do it already.“

I now talk about this again with the pre-school children. Again, the four boys are rather unimpressed and immediately give their consent. The two girls, on the other hand, seem less enthusiastic.

(Note from the course leader:
This is often observed that girls react a bit more tense in such situations, especially towards other girls).

However, they both seem to understand my arguments: for example, that Marike will be the only pre-school child in our group in half a year (after the summer holidays) and that it would certainly be nicer for her to do the WS now with her friends than alone or in a completely different group.

So Marike can still participate successfully in the WS until the end of the kindergarten year (for four months). I was especially pleased that Marike has been happy to come to kindergarten again since then.

(Note from the course leader:
Great result of your work!)

More challenging games for Marike

In addition, I often took the time to play more challenging games with Marike – also to ease the situation with the two girls in the pre-school group, when they would like to play in pairs, i.e. without Marike.

She especially likes to play „Buchstabix“, a letter memory, or „Lesehexe“ 〈Reading Witch〉, also a game for preschoolers, where words are puzzled together. I don’t particularly like the fact that the words are not written in capital letters throughout. However, Marike and the other children are not particularly bothered by this.

Marike also likes to play with our magnetic letters. In addition, my colleague and I let Marike take part in preschool activities within our kindergarten every now and then, for example, in an offer by a media educator, which she found very great.

(Note from the course leader:
Overall, the methods of acceleration and enrichment used prima!)


Date of publication in German: February 2019
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see Imprint.